Cyberwar 1.0 beta

singularityCan you believe it?

People are voluntarily joining botnets!

I mean. Botnets? Intentional zombification of your computer? Are you sure that’s … you know … wise?

If Wikileaks broke the Espionage Act, so did the NYT!

Because they got the data too. Others who have broken the 90 year old Espionage Act include e.e. cummings.

Don’t worry – Congress is ready with the SHIELD act!

That’s the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act for those of you who were worried that there wasn’t an awesome acronym!

Houston. We have a little problem handling our approach to the Singularity, please advise.

The photo is by sf à gogo and you can see her work in the Flickriver.


Bridging the gaps

ETHAN ZUCKERMAN: I spent 20 minutes this morning researching Kenyan wedding rituals.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: But you’re weird!

Mike sent me this interview from On the Media with with Ethan Zuckerman, founder of Global Voices, and Clive Thompson, technology writer for the New York Times Magazine and Wired. They were discussing homophily: the tendency for individuals to seek out others who share their preferences, ideas, age, gender, class, organizational role, etc. and whether the internet was increasing it or helping build bridges of understanding. They also discuss people who are getting beyond what’s known as the Dunbar number and having deep (or not totally shallow) connections with well more than the 150 or so people we’re thought to be able to “know” through social media. Clive relates that as a result of his network, he’s shocked at how much more he knows about things.

For example, I mean, some people’s homophily problem might mean they don’t know anything about international relations. My homophily problem is I don’t know anything about pop culture. I don’t watch any TV. I don’t watch any movies. I don’t listen to much music. And this becomes a real social deficit. I’ll go a party and people like will mention a major A-list star and I have no idea who the hell they’re talking about.

And so, what happens is that in the periphery of my large number of weak links, something will sort of begin to move. Like I’ll see a bunch of people say, wow, Christian Bale is a total badass, and someone else will go, go Christian Bale, go. And I’ll be like I sense a disturbance in the Force.

Mike thought I’d like it, and I did. It’s 20 minutes of very interesting discussion – have a listen if you can.

The photo is Bridging the East River by Randy Wick and you should definitely check it out bigger or in his Most Interesting slideshow.

Cutting through the Babel with Google Fusion Tables

Circle of Blue has an article about last week’s launch of Fusion Tables by Google. The new system allows users to upload and manage huge databases of information and access aggregated data through a common format

“The biggest potential is to build an ecosystem of data on the Web,” said Alon Halevy, the senior Google engineer who led the Fusion Tables development team. “This means making it easy for the people to upload, to merge data sets, to discuss the data, to create visualizations and then to take these visualizations and put them elsewhere on the Web so that there’s better data on the Web.”

…Fusion Tables, a breakthrough application of online research and communications capacities, goes beyond traditional database systems because it allows users to share and merge data in real time with other contributors wherever they work. It also allows users to apply visualizations, and discuss discrepancies of specific data points. Multiple users can cross-check and discuss individual rows, columns or even cells as easily as right-clicking on the spot.

Users can also display their data through a variety of visualizations: as a timeline, a graph or a map. The “fusion” of the data sets can link dissimilar information from the far corners of the Web to reveal patterns and trends that might be impossible to spot otherwise. This makes Fusion Tables a central hub for data collaboration, as anyone can publish and access files, which were formerly locked away in Excel spreadsheets, PDF reports, and hard-cover textbooks.

I know from scientist friends who I’ve talked with that one of the biggest barriers to collaboration is the fact that Lab A can’t communicate with Lab B … fortunately there’s Google to allow them to speak the same language. Check out the article for more and some created images and watch this interview with Halevy.

The photo is The Last Drop by lepiaf.geo and it’s part of her Water set (slideshow).

Google punches earth sized hole in the browser

the Earth in the palm of your hand?

Earlier this week I thought I should write something about Google adding underwater environments to its Google Earth program on Monday.

While that will no doubt be cooler than a bucket of cucumbers, I was pretty surprised when I typed “embed Google Earth” instead of “embed Google Maps” and found out that you could in fact embed Google Earth* into web pages.

When I loaded Hello, Earth, I realized how deftly Google has moved.

Web browsers are our portal to the information we want: news, travel, shopping, video and other media are all just a quick search. It is a limited environment however. Sure, you can click, pull and drag windows around, but the lack of a 3rd dimension removes immediacy and I suspect renders the online experience kind of boring to people who aren’t accustomed to getting entertainment from non-moving 2D environments like books. Add that 3rd dimension, however, and I suspect that the content that many of us find so enriching will explode into the lives of many more.

Snapshot: You click the map portal on a site – let’s say Absolute Michigan. You’re going to spend a weekend in wine country, touring the Leelanau Peninsula and you spin the globe to check it out. You can tap the winery icons to read about their tasting rooms and wines, scroll through photos and video and even make reservations for dinner or lodging, all while cruising through a 3D map that makes it easy to see beaches and trails and all kinds of fun stuff that you would miss if reading it.

Can you see it? OK, now add social networking in…

To install the Google Earth plugin, just click the Hello, Earth link above

*OK, so you’ve been able to access Google Earth in Windows for a while. #1 I didn’t know and #2 I don’t consider things real until they’re cross system.

High-def surfing Freak Show

Shawn Malone of passed an incredible video along to me (be sure and check out her and Brian’s Lake Superior & Great Lakes surfing shots while you’re there).

The video is called Backdoor Switchfoot. It’s part of Making Waves: The 14 Days of Vincent Laforet and it is a full HD video of amazing quality that was produced by photographer Vincent Laforet with a Canon 500mm f4 – on a RED One at 100 frames per second at 2K using the Wicked Circuits EF Lens Adapter (the equivalent of a 1600mm on a 35mm camera). On his blog, he writes:

Creativity in surfing is the opportunity to express oneself on a wave. Surfing is nothing but the physical extension of one’s ability to explore that realm between land and sea. Being free to do it without the constraints of commercial endeavor or competitive goals creates true freedom of expression. Somewhere between the land and the sea Jamie tries the other side, switching his feet around on take off, choosing the opposite stance, then midway, switches back… as if to say I can do “whatever I like.” Jamie embodies the term “free surfer.”

We had a long behind the scenes clip queued up for you today (including the ND filter piece that I promised) but the newsman in me forces me to put this clip out now – for the non-surfing crowd out there: this footswitch by Jamie is something unique to his skill set, and something seldom captured.

The best thing about watching, let alone filming, Jamie – is the privilege of seeing someone do something so beautiful, so difficult, so effortlessly. The last time I saw something like this on such a regular basis was when I photographed Michael Jordan at the United Center in Chicago for his last 3 years on the court.

I cannot stress how amazing this video is. Go watch it. For somebody who has been on the internet since online photos are a big deal, a video of this quality over the web is like a big sign that says “Welcome to the Future.”

The photo is Jamie “Freak Show” O’Brien by HalonaCoast and it’s in his great Surfing set.

Ask the Internet presents: Is this a problem?

On a road that I walk on – which is a private road by the way but I know people on it and along with many others, have walked on it all my life and so I guess feel entitled – the above “situation” has developed.

To me, it looks like a great place to die in a snowstorm or rainstorm, but about all I now about electricity is that it scares the crap out of me when in power line form.

Dear internets: am I right to be concerned about this situation or is it yet another intrusion of busy-bodies into the rights of property owners?

View Bigger, On Black

Vote. Everyone. Please.

Please watch this short video:

If you agree that we have an economy to fix, two wars to end, veterans and veterans’ families to care for, cities and towns to rebuild, children to educate and nurture and feed and a planet to protect for the next generation and those after, then ask yourself: which candidate can help to put us on the road to accomplish all that and more?

If your answer as mine: the candidate who talks about doing it and has energized millions of people all across the country and the world, then please send it along to friends – tell them WHY they should treat this election as the most important thing they will do this week.

You never get another chance to be ten years old, to catch your first fish, to hear a story from your grandmother, to be a new father or mother, to watch your oldest graduate from college or dance at the wedding of your youngest, to see the Grand Canyon or whales off Alaska.

Vote. Everyone. Please.

Graveyard Shift

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanAs you may be aware, Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer. In addition to the fact that he can spin a tale like nobody I know, he also seems to be testing the bounds of the process of storytelling with his unabashed use of blogs, video and other web tech. On his wondrously weird website Mouse Circus, he is posting videos of his 9-city video tour (Oct 1-9). At each stop, he reads one chapter from his new work The Graveyard Book.

Check out Neil reading of The Graveyard Book. If you haven’t read one of his books, might I recommend fixing that with this.

The photo is Untitled by Jenny Murray, who says that while it wouldn’t normally occur to her, she thinks that this photo should be viewed on black. She’s a serial violater of Rule #6, so watch your step.

Dive into her Flickriver because she’s one of the best. Word.

Wikipedia Go!

For me, Wikipedia is something I open several times a week to answer specific questions. The other day, I happened to go to Wikipedia’s front page and was impressed by what was there. A few highlights from today:

If you want to get really crazy, check out all their portals and dive into Michigan or Anime & manga.

Image: Wikipe-tan icon by ja:利用者:Kasuga. I so do not understand what is up with that picture. Or this one.